South Korea's exports fell 2.3 percent on-year in the first 20 days of February, data showed Tuesday, as the sluggish global demand for chips offset strong shipments of automobiles.
The country's outbound shipments stood at $33.5 billion in the Feb. 1-20 period, compared with $34.3 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.
Imports rose 9.3 percent on-year to $39.5 billion during the cited period, resulting in a trade deficit of $5.9 billion.
The deficit came amid soaring global energy prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. South Korea depends heavily on imports for its energy needs.
By product, exports of chips, the backbone of Asia's No. 4 economy, dipped 43.9 percent over the period to $3.8 billion, amid the downcycle of the semiconductor industry.
Those of automobiles, on the other hand, shot up 56.6 percent to $3.3 billion, and exports of petroleum products also advanced 16.3 percent to $3.1 billion.
Exports of steel products moved up 3.9 percent to $2.8 billion, it added.
By destination, exports to China, South Korea's biggest trading partner, fell 22.7 percent to $6.6 billion, despite hopes over its reopening.
Shipments to the United States, in contrast, gained 29.3 percent on-year to hit $6 billion.
Exports to the European Union added 18 percent to $4.3 billion, while those to Vietnam lost 18 percent to $2.9 billion.
South Korea's total exports reached $79 billion so far, down 11.1 percent from the same period a year earlier. Trade deficits came to $18.6 billion as of Monday.
In January, exports fell 16.6 percent on-year to reach $46.27 billion, following a 9.5 percent on-year fall the previous month.
South Korea also reported an all-time monthly high trade deficit of $12.69 billion in January. Imports overwhelmed exports for the 11th straight month. (Yonhap)